Program Notice Grain Inspection Packers Stockyards

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Program Notice Grain Inspection Packers Stockyards Powered By Docstoc
					                        United States Department of Agriculture
                        Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
                        Federal Grain Inspection Service

                        Program Notice                             FGIS-PN-10-03        10-19-09


1.     PURPOSE

       This program notice specifies requirements for automated official weight monitoring
       systems in addition to the requirements noted in FGIS Directive 9160.3, Parameters for
       Automated Monitoring and Supervision of Official Weighing, dated September 4, 2006.


       FGIS Directive 9160.3 establishes a list of parameters for developing an automated
       official grain weighing and handling system, also called an Automated Weighing System
       (AWS), which will produce the necessary documentation and incorporate the necessary
       safeguards such that it can be operated without 100 percent official physical supervision.
       Features which make these systems more effective, more reliable, or easier to operate are
       added to the list of requirements as advances in technology make them practical. It is the
       policy of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), Federal
       Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) to encourage the grain industry to automate weighing,
       sampling, and material handling systems to assist in improving the efficiency and
       effectiveness of official service.

       In 2009 FGIS implemented the Inspection Data Warehouse (IDW), which stores and
       distributes grade and weight certificates in electronic form, plus Certificate and
       Distributed Certificate software (CRT and DCRT), and Inspection, Testing, and
       Weighing software (ITW) to generate the certificates. Since inbound barge and rail
       weight certificates carry no inspection data, an AWS can generate these certificates
       automatically. The previous way of doing this has been to print the certificates on pre-
       printed forms using impact printers. This method will no longer be allowed because the
       paper certificates generated must be entered into IDW manually. They cannot simply be
       scanned. Instead, an AWS will be required to transmit the data directly to an FGIS
       computer running DCRT.

3.     POLICY

       The features specified in this program notice are required in any AWS before it is given
       initial approval for official use, or before it is re-approved for official use following
       major modifications, major upgrades, or repairs which involve extensive reprogramming
       or incorporation of new data processing equipment.

       Existing approved AWSs will be required to have these features by certain dates which
       are specific to each feature. Failure to provide a required feature by the specified date

Distribution: A, C, E           Disposal Date: 09-08-12       Originating Office: GIPSA-FMD,PPB
     will result in suspension of the system's approval to provide official weights without a
     weigher being present.


     a.     Silencing Audible Alarms

            Official personnel must be able to silence an audible alarm without clearing the
            visual alarm indication. Silencing an alarm that requires investigation before the
            error condition is cleared avoids errors due to personnel hastily clearing the alarm
            to stop the noise, or continuing to work while subjected to constant noise.

            The ability to silence audible alarms will be required by August 30, 2010.

     b.     Descriptive Voice Announcements for Alarms and Permissive Requests

            Alarms and permissive requests must incorporate a voice announcement that
            gives general information about the kind of alarm or request. The accompanying
            visual indication can fill in the specifics that the voice leaves out. For example, a
            voice alarm could say, "Gate opened without permission," and the visual
            indication could show the specific gate and the scale affected. Another example
            is a permissive request in which the voice says, "OK to Weigh request," and the
            visual indication identifies the scale and shipping bin. Voice alarms and requests
            improve the accuracy and efficiency of the system by letting official personnel
            know the action required even before reading the visual indication. In contrast,
            generic beeps can allow personnel to confuse an alarm that needs immediate
            attention with a "nuisance" alarm that has been occurring frequently and has low

            As voice alarms are expected to involve more extensive changes to automated
            weighing software, and possibly changes to the hardware as well, more time is
            being allowed for their implementation. Voice alarms will be required by
            September 3, 2012.

     c.     Replacement of Event Log Printers

            In order to reduce the amount of equipment and paper and reduce the noise level
            in inspection labs, printers which print out event logs continuously will no longer
            be allowed. In place of the printer, an AWS must make an Alarm and Events
            screen available which can display at least the most recent 24 hours of alarms and
            events. There must also be a simple way to print a hard copy of the data in this
            screen or to copy it to a removable electronic storage device. Event logs will
            continue to be monitored continuously by an FGIS computer, and copied to a
            server on the GIPSA network every night.

            This feature will be required in all AWSs by September 3, 2012.

                                           Page 2
                                                                               FGIS PN 10-03


     a.   Port

          Weight certificate data must be transmitted to the FGIS computer over an RS-232
          serial port. Computer security regulations would interfere with the use of any
          other type of hardware port. Default port settings are 38400 baud, 8 data bits, 1
          start bit, 1 stop bit, and no parity, but these can be changed if necessary. Either
          software (XON) or hardware (DTR) flow control can be used.

     b.   Basic Flow Control

           If hardware flow control is enabled, the FGIS computer (the receiver) asserts the
          "Data Terminal Ready" (DTR) control line (+5V) when it is ready to receive data,
          and drops the DTR line (0V) when it is not ready. If software flow control is
          enabled, the FGIS computer sends one XON character (ctrl-Q or ASCII 17) every
          100 milliseconds as long as it can receive data.

          The AWS may respond to either hardware flow control, i.e., transmitting data
          only while DTR is asserted, or software flow control, i.e., transmitting only when
          an XON has been received within 100 milliseconds, or both. If possible, the
          AWS should use software flow control, as is may not be possible for the FGIS
          computer to lower the DTR line if the receiver program is blocked. If the AWS
          cannot receive characters from the FGIS computer over its serial port, it must use
          hardware flow control.

          If DTR is low continuously for more than 10 seconds, or no XON is sent for more
          than 10 seconds, either an error condition exists or the receiver program is not

     c.   Data Transfer Initiation and Completion

          The AWS must hold its certificate data until the FGIS computer signals that it is
          ready to receive data by asserting the DTR control line (hardware flow control) or
          transmitting an XON (software flow control). Normally it will have to wait no
          longer than 10 seconds. When certificate data are available, the AWS must
          transmit the entire certificate without interruptions, because the FGIS computer
          will time out and assume an error condition exists if it does not receive any
          characters for 5 seconds.

          The AWS must indicate the end of a certificate by sending either a Form Feed
          (FF, ASCII 12) or an End of Transmission (EOT, ASCII 4) character. The
          receiver will reply with an Acknowledge (ACK, ASCII 6) character to indicate
          the file was received successfully, and if hardware flow control is enabled, it will

                                         Page 3
     drop DTR. The AWS must then remove the certificate data from its transmit
     queue and prepare to transmit the next certificate, if any.

d.   Error Handling

     An error condition is indicated if either computer transmits a Negative
     Acknowledge character (NACK, ASCII 21), or if the AWS stops transmitting
     data for 5 seconds, or if the FGIS computer holds DTR low and does not send an
     XON character for 10 seconds.

     If the FGIS computer detects an error condition, it will stop receiving data, close
     its certificate file, and, if hardware flow control is enabled, will drop DTR. If
     software flow control is enabled, it will transmit a NACK character to notify the
     AWS of the error, unless the AWS had indicated the error itself by transmitting a

     If the AWS detects an error, it must stop transmitting data and prepare to re-
     transmit the certificate from the beginning. The AWS may optionally transmit a
     NACK to notify the FGIS computer of an error condition, but it should not
     transmit a NACK in response to receiving a NACK.

e.   Comma-Separated Variable (CSV) Data Format

     NOTE: FGIS has a programming project to parse data formatted for a preprinted
     weight certificate form in an impact printer and reformat it for the DCRT
     program. If this project is successful, existing AWSs which currently print weight
     certificates on preprinted forms will not have to reformat their data for DCRT. In
     addition, the hardware flow control option of the FGIS data receiving program is
     similar to the flow control used by a serial printer. However, this does not
     guarantee that it will be possible to simply move the printer cable to a serial port
     on the FGIS computer.

     FGIS computers can currently accept data as ASCII text in Comma-Separated
     Variable (CSV) format. In this format, data fields are separated by commas, and
     the meaning of a field is determined by its position in the data file. The first field
     is always the record type (all weight certificates are type "S"), the second field is
     the service point code of the location where the certificate is generated, and so on.

     Attachment 1 of this program notice lists the fields of an inbound weight
     certificate, their permissible contents, and their meanings. A field may contain
     alphabetic or numeric characters, spaces, and any punctuation characters except
     commas, double quotes, or single quotes. A field may optionally be enclosed in
     double quotes, in which case it may also contain commas and single quotes. A
     field may never contain a carriage return (ASCII 13) or line feed (ASCII 10),
     because DCRT interprets these characters as record separators to allow multiple
     records to be imported as a single file.

                                    Page 4
                                                                                 FGIS PN 10-03

               Attachment 2 of this program notice shows the correspondence between the fields
               of a preprinted official weight certificate and the fields of a CSV file.

               FGIS Directive 9290.16, Inspection Data Warehouse (IDW) for Grain Program
               Services, Attachment 1, also lists the fields of a CSV file, their permissible
               contents, and their meanings. However, a weight certificate is much simpler than
               the general certificate specified in FGIS Directive 9290.16. Many fields are left
               blank in a weight certificate, and the fields beyond "Inspection Weighing Service"
               are not needed and should be omitted.

       f.      Deadlines

               AWSs will be required to send inbound weight certificates to a FGIS computer
               running DCRT by August 30, 2010, regardless of whether the software to parse
               data formatted for a preprinted certificate is available.

               The requirement for the AWS to re-send a certificate from the beginning if it
               detects an error condition is expected to involve more extensive programming
               modifications, and such error conditions are expected to be uncommon, so
               weighing systems will not be required to implement this until September 3, 2012.


       Retain a copy of this program notice with FGIS Directive 9160.3 until this information is
       incorporated into the directive.


       Direct any questions to Nelson Buck at 202-720-0271 or or
       Lane LeJeune at 985-764-2324 or

/s/ Robert S. Lijewski

Robert S. Lijewski, Acting Director
Field Management Division

                                             Page 5
                                                                                                                Attachment 1
                                                                                                               FGIS PN 10-03

Field Number Field Name           Length Permissible Value(s) Definitions                            Key
1            Record Type          1      S                     Code that identifies a Summary        S = Summary Inspection
                                                               Weighing Certificate                  and/or Weighing
2            Certification        7      6-digit service point GIPSA-assigned number for the
             Location                    number                location where the certificate is
3            Analysis Weighing    7      6-digit service point GIPSA-assigned number for the
             Location                    number                location where the weighing
                                                               service is performed
4,5          Lot Number, File     Empty
             Sample ID
6            Inspection Type      4       O, S, N                 Level of Inspection                O=Original
                                                                                                     S=Supervision (Class Y)
                                                                                                     N=New Original
7            Commodity /          50                              Name of facility where the
             Carrier Location                                     commodity is located at the time
                                                                  of service
8            City                 30                              City where the commodity is
                                                                  located at the time of service
9            State                4       Standard 2-character    State where the commodity is
                                          abbreviation            located at the time of service
10           Ordered By           50                              Name of the customer
                                                                  requesting service
11           Certificate Number   Empty                           Assigned by CRT software
12           Certificate Date     Empty                           Assigned by CRT software
13           Service Type         4       X,Y                     Class X or Class Y Weighing
14-22        Repeats of Service   Empty
23           Purpose Code         4       O                       Purpose of record (Original,       O=Original
                                                                  Void, Duplicate, Corrected)
24-26                             Empty

                                                         Page 6
Attachment 1
FGIS PN 10-03

Field Number Field Name               Length Permissible Value(s) Definitions                             Key
27           Movement                 4      I                    In, Out, Local, Export                  I=Inbound
28           Carrier Type             4      B, R                 Type of carrier used to transport       B=Barge
                                                                  the commodity                           R=Rail
29              Number of Carriers    4                           Number of carriers comprising
                                                                  the lot
30              Identification        100                         Identification of the carrier
31-35                                 Empty
36              Commodity Class       10                          Lowest level of agricultural
                                                                  commodity class or subclass as
                                                                  defined in the Agricultural
                                                                  Product Standards
37-43                                 Empty
44              Official Weight       9                           Weight of the lot weighed
45              Unit of Measure       4      LB or MT                                                     LB=Pounds
                                                                                                          MT=Metric Tons
46              Certificate           5                              GIPSA-assigned number for the
                Signature Inspector                                  individual whose name appears
                Number                                               on the certificate
47              Date of Service       8       YYYYMMDD               Date inspection or weighing is
48              Time of Service       4       HHMM                   Time inspection or weighing is
49              Remarks               8000                           Information from the remarks
                                                                     section of the certificate that is
                                                                     not reported in another field
50              Agency Field Office 10        Standard 2-4           Official agency or field office
                Code                          character abbreviation that performs the inspection or
                                                                     weighing service
51-55                                 Empty

                                                             Page 7
                                                                                                         Attachment 1
                                                                                                        FGIS PN 10-03

Field Number Field Name         Length Permissible Value(s) Definitions                         Key
56           Customer Number    18                          GIPSA-assigned number for the
                                                            customer. Required to let a
                                                            customer access data from IDW
57           GIPSA Fee          1      Y,N                  Field to indicate if record is to   Y=Yes
                                                            be used for computing               N=No
                                                            supervision or administrative
                                                            tonnage fees
58           Date Started       8      YYYYMMDD             Date weighing begins
59           Time Started       4      HHMM                 Time weighing begins
60           Type Shipment      4      BU, SA               Bulk or Sack                        BU=Bulk, SA=Sack
61           Inspection         4      W                    Classification of service as        W=Weighing only
             Weighing Service                               inspection only, weighing only,
                                                            or inspection & weighing

                                                      Page 8
                                                                                          Attachment 2
                                                                                         FGIS PN 10-03

                      CSV Field 2 (replaced by 6-digit number)            Field 47

Field 30
                                                                 Fields 7, 8, and 9         Field 27

           Field 49                                                                         Field 28

                                                                                            Field 48

                                                                              Field 58      Field 59

                                                                                            Field 44

                                                                      Field 46

                                                      Field 36

                                           Page 9

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